GAARRRR! A Pirate I Be!
Eleven pubs over a minimum of nine hours. Oh yeah, did I mention the over 50 people dressed as pirates and talking in their finest salty dog accents? No? Well, that was my day yesterday when I took part in the 12th Annual Talk Like A Pirate Day pub crawl in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
In 1995 two guys (John Baur and Mark Summers), while playing racquetball, started yelling at each other in Pirate slang. After having so much fun with it, the idea of an International Day was born. It took these two guys until 2002 to make it celebrated by anyone other than themselves and a few mates, but with the help of a humour columnist (Dave Barry), and his article, Talk Like A Pirate Day went out into the world as a recognised day of celebration.
Is it time yet?
My alarm was set for 8:15. My plan: get up, take my son to his mother’s and get ready. I had a huge day ahead, one I had been looking forward to for 12 months. Waiting for my alarm was pointless, I was awake like a kid on Christmas morning. I had to make myself stay in bed until 8 and then I gave in and gathered my stuff. Grabbing my costume from the wardrobe and hung it out ready to don. I found my guns and sword. I even sewed a belt loop onto my money pouch as last year I had tied it to my belt and it had been very annoying when I walked.
Showered, dressed, eyeliner applied (what self-respecting pirate doesn’t wear eyeliner?!) and contact lens’ in I was ready to go. We had six of us in my house all itching to get to town for 11 am. Starting at the Black Harp, we were in for a day of raucous joviality, terrible jokes, pirate slang and RUM! Last year was new for me, this year I had a better idea of how it all worked.
Right from the moment we got to the pub, and yes, we were the first group to arrive, the fun began. I don’t think there is any other day you can yell in a rough voice “Bar wench! Bring forth ale” followed with “why be me cup so empty?” all without being slapped. All the bars had offered drinks and food specials, and some played sea shanties to set the mood. More and more pirates arrived and the noise level grew.
Of course, the key is to talk like a pirate…
We all talked freely with the public, testing their knowledge (what be a pirate’s favourite letter of the alphabet? ARRRRRR!), letting kids take photos with us and watching them come out of shops and hang out of car windows to stare. We were all essentially a bunch of complete strangers, but today, today we were a clan. Swashbuckling sword fights and dancing a jig through the streets, we entertained ourselves and those around us.
Best behaved pirates ever…
Now don’t get me wrong, this was a pub crawl too. We consumed rum, beer and other hearty beverages, but the food on offer was generally good and well priced. Throughout the whole day, there were no problems, no one was too drunk and vomiting or sleeping, there no fights, no arguments and apart from an unwary child or two there were no tears! Yes, this was a pub crawl, but in no way was it about getting drunk. We had pirates drinking soft drinks and our youngest and newest member of the Pirate Day clan was carried around by his mum. I have to say it is very cute when a baby dressed as a Pirate can “Arrrr”!
By the time we reached the last bar, 8 Ball, we had whittled down slightly but still going strong. We all played pool and continued the merriment. My friends and I were home by 8:30 and were content with our day. Not sober, but not noticeably drunk either. We had all had an amazing day meeting new people and laughing (for me, so much I needed painkillers to clear a laughing headache).
In New Plymouth at least, this event is well run and a lot of fun. Although the official day is the 19th September, the pub crawl is always held on the closest Saturday. Each year it grows in support and if you are able to attend I would highly suggest it. You will not be disappointed. Costumes can range from store-bought and fancy to an old coat and a bandana with a plastic eye patch and sword. The costumes are fun, but it’s the people and atmosphere that make the day!